Adam Rosales is a 33-year-old free agent, and he’s had a decent if unremarkable run as a utility infielder in parts of nine seasons for the Reds, Rangers, A’s and Padres. But no matter what happens to him for the rest of his career, he’s got this going for him: He set a speed record previously held by Billy Hamilton.
You wouldn’t think such a thing to be possible, because such a thing shouldn’t be possible. Rosales has 16 stolen bases in a Major League career that dates back to 2008. Hamilton stole 16 bases in a span of 10 games in August. Rosales has been designated for assignment at least six times in his career. Hamilton is without question the game’s pre-eminent speedster. Other than the fact they both play baseball, these two couldn’t be more different.
So, what could Rosales have possibly done faster than Hamilton? To find out, let’s go back to April, when Hamilton hit a homer off Jon Lester. He circled the bases in 16.2 seconds, setting the record for the fastest home-to-home time on an outside-the-park homer in the two seasons of Statcast™ tracking. That made sense. If there’s a speed record, Hamilton (or at the very least, Byron Buxton or Dee Gordon) ought to own it.
Let’s fast-forward to September, when Rosales was putting together a surprisingly powerful five-homer month. On Sept. 24, he crushed one off Madison Bumgarner and ran full-speed around the bases in 15.96 seconds. That’s now the fastest. (For further context, the fastest inside-the-park “trot” time of 2016 was 14.05 by Buxton on Oct. 2, and when Tyler Naquin hit his memorable inside-the-park walk-off homer in August his time of 15.69 was barely faster than Rosales’.)
While it’s true that the ball Rosales hit wasn’t exactly a no-doubter that he could stare at before taking a leisurely jog around the bases, remember that this …